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Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP)  

Want to Improve the IRS?¨SPEAK UP

By Andrea Price, TAP member representing Ohio
Guest Column

The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel is comprised of civic-minded citizen volunteers from all walks of life representing each state, D.C., Puerto Rico and an international member (citizens living, working or doing business abroad). TAP is a Federal Advisory Committee whose mission is to listen to taxpayers, identify taxpayers’ issues and make suggestions for improving the IRS service and customer satisfaction.

Everyone has something to say about taxes and the IRS. Please take a moment to give us your suggestions for TAP to consider by contacting one of the following:

TAP Ohio member: tapohioandreaprice@gmail.com

Call Toll-free at:1-888-912-1227

Website: www.improveirs.org

The Taxpayer First Act of 2019- A Big Win for Taxpayers

The Taxpayer First Act (HR 3151) protects taxpayers from tax-related identity theft by expanding to all taxpayers the ability to obtain an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN), establishes an independent office of appeals, includes provisions to exempt low-income taxpayers from the IRS’ private debt collection program and other measures to improve overall IRS customer service. The bill was signed into law on July 1, 2019 and was sponsored by Congressman John Lewis

[D-GA] and co-sponsored by Rep. Brad Wenstrup [R-OH-2].

Here are a few Highlights of the Act:

Comprehensive Customer Service Strategy

Within one year of enactment, the IRS is required to develop and submit to Congress a comprehensive customer service strategy. The strategy must address how the IRS intends to provide assistance to taxpayers that is secure, designed to meet reasonable taxpayer expectations, and that adopts appropriate best practices of customer service provided in the private sector, including online services, telephone call back services, and training of employees providing customer services.

The strategy must also establish metrics and benchmarks for measuring the IRS’ success in implementing this strategy.

Modernization of IRS Organization Structure

The Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 directed the IRS Commissioner to restructure the IRS by eliminating or substantially modifying the three-tier geographic structure (national, regional, and district) and replacing it with an organizational structure that features operating units serving particular groups of taxpayers with similar needs.

Customer Service Information

This provision instructs the IRS to provide the following information over the telephone, while taxpayers are on hold with an IRS call center: information about common tax scams, direction to the taxpayer on where and how to report such activity, and tips on how to protect against identity theft and tax scams.

Misdirected Tax Refunds

This provision directs the IRS to establish procedures for taxpayers to report instances where they did not receive an anticipated electronic fund transfer or a refund was erroneously delivered to the wrong taxpayer, and also to ensure the IRS will recover the erroneous refunds and deliver them to the correct taxpayer.

Payment of Taxes by Debit and Credit Cards

Currently, the IRS cannot accept credit and debit card payments for taxes directly due to a restriction on the payment of fees charged by the card issuer. As a result, the IRS must use a third-party processor to accept credit and debit card payments.

This provision allows the IRS to directly accept credit and debit card payments for taxes, provided that the fee is paid by the taxpayer. The IRS is directed to seek to minimize these fees when entering into contracts to process credit and debit cards.

Notice Required before Revocation of Tax-Exempt Status

Charities and other nonprofits automatically lose their tax-exempt status if they do not file annual information returns for three consecutive years. Once revoked, the organization must refile for exempt status.

This provision requires the IRS to notify an organization after the organization’s second consecutive failure to file an information return in order to give the organization time to file an information return and prevent their tax-exempt status from being revoked.

Internet Platform for Form 1099

The IRS is required to develop an internet portal that facilitates taxpayers filing Forms 1099 with the IRS. The internet portal is to be modeled after a Social Security Administration (SSA) system that allows individuals to file Forms
W-2 with SSA. The website will provide taxpayers with access to resources and guidance provided by the IRS, and allow taxpayers to prepare, file, and distribute Forms 1099, and create and maintain taxpayer records.

Disclosures of Taxpayer Information

The Income Verification Express Service (IVES) is a program run by the IRS, which is used to verify a taxpayer’s income. The program is most often used when a taxpayer is applying for a mortgage and the mortgage lender is seeking to verify the taxpayer’s income.

This provision authorizes the IRS to develop an automated system to receive these forms in lieu of the current system, which relies on the forms to be sent to the IRS via secure fax. Additionally, the provision authorizes the IRS to charge a separate user fee over a two-year period on all IVES requests to fund the development of the new system.

Single Point of Contact for Identity Theft

This provision establishes a single point of contact within the IRS for any taxpayer who is a victim of identity theft. The single point of contact will be responsible for tracking the taxpayer’s case to completion and coordinating with other units to resolve the taxpayer’s issues as quickly as possible. This provision is intended to address concerns over the lack of continuity of assistance when taxpayers are victims of tax related identity theft.

Low Income Exceptions for Offer-in-Compromise

The IRS is authorized to enter into an offer-in-compromise (OIC) agreement with a taxpayer to settle a tax debt at a lower amount than what the taxpayer generally owes. Generally, when proposing an OIC to the IRS, the taxpayer must pay an application fee and provide an initial non-refundable lump-sum payment. The IRS has the authority to waive these payments. Typically, the IRS does not require taxpayers certified as low-income, defined as those with incomes below 250% of the federal poverty level, to include the application fee and initial payment.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day

The Internal Revenue Service and its partners nationwide remind taxpayers about the Earned Income Tax Credit on Jan. 31, “EITC Awareness Day.” This is the 14th year of the EITC awareness campaign that alerts millions of workers to this significant tax credit.

Workers who can claim the EITC
Workers at risk for overlooking this important credit can include taxpayers:

  • Without children
  • Living in non-traditional families, such as a grandparent raising a grandchild
  • Whose earnings declined or whose marital or parental status changed
  • With limited English language skills
  • Who are members of the armed forces
  • Living in rural areas
  • Who are Native Americans
  • With disabilities or who provide care for a disabled dependent




Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/20/20 08:40:42 -0500.

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